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Western Asia

Zambia - September 2022

Hichilema’s government announces repeal of colonial-era defamation law

During his opening of the new session of Zambia’s National Assembly on 9 September, President Hakainde Hichilema announced that his government is to table legislation repealing a colonial-era law criminalizing defamation of the president. The law has long been used by Zambian governments to silence their critics and rights groups have alleged that this practice has continued (and even increased) during Hichilema’s presidency. On 1 September the leader of the opposition Patriots for Economic Progress party, Sean Tembo, was arrested under the law after criticizing the president for raising fuel prices – although he was later charged with the lesser offence of hate speech. Hichilema has been under increasing pressure from activists within and outside of Zambia to deliver on his 2021 campaign promise to repeal the defamation of the president law.

Sources: Voice of America, Lusaka Times, Twitter (1), Twitter (2), Kalemba

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